Falkirk man grabbed swan by the neck

A nesting swan in the Lido Park pond was attacked in May.
A nesting swan in the Lido Park pond was attacked in May.

A man who violently attacked a nesting swan in a Stenhousemuir Park has appeared in court.

Gary McDonald (29), from Falkirk, ignored concerned onlookers’ pleas not to approach the swan in Lido Park in May.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that, following the incident, a video was uploaded to social media by a witness in a bid to “name and shame” Mr McDonald.

After the matter was brought to their attention, police issued an appeal for witnesses, branding the behaviour “completely unacceptable”.

McDonald admitted interfering with a wild bird’s nest, contrary to the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, on 6 May.

Prosecutor Susan Campbell told the court that a group of teenagers saw McDonald entering the park and believed him to be drunk.

McDonald then approached the group and told them he was going to “snap this swan’s neck,” before asking them to film him.

The swan became alarmed and stood up from the nest, stretching its wings to warn him off and at this point McDonald grabbed the bird by the neck and held it for several seconds.

McDonald was traced by police about two weeks later.

Defence solicitor Murray Aitken described the act as “drunken bravado”.

Sheriff Derek Livingston deferred sentence for reports until December 20.

As native wild birds, swans are a protected species under an ancient charter and also enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence to intentionally injure, take or kill a wild swan.